Could the ‘Love Hormone’ Be a Weight-Loss Aid for Men?

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Preliminary research in a small number of men suggests that the “love hormone” oxytocin may reduce appetite, potentially turning it into a tool for weight loss.

The new study tested a synthetic nasal formulation of oxytocin, and found the hormone treatment reduced the number of calories that men consumed, especially calories from fatty foods.

“We are seeing early signs that oxytocin reduces how much food someone eats at a meal and improves the way their body handles blood sugar,” said study lead author Dr. Elizabeth Lawson, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

The hormone oxytocin is linked to many activities that bond people together, including sex, hugging, kissing, holding hands, giving birth and breast-feeding. In medicine, it’s used to induce labor, manage bleeding in mothers after birth and coax out breast milk in nursing women, Lawson said.